Did you know that last year Congress set the top estate-and-gift-tax rate at 40% and raised the exemption to $5 million per person, adjusted for inflation. It now stands at $5.34 million and is expected to rise to $5.43 million next year.
Previously, the estates of the deceased with assets worth more than $1.5 million—or who made gifts above that limit while alive—were subject to federal tax rates up to 50% and married couples had to set up trusts to benefit from their full $3 million estate exemption. This is no longer the case since Lawmakers changed the new rules.
These new rules give tax-saving opportunities that many eligible people remain unaware of. These changes contradict advice they may have previously been given. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the federal estate tax is no longer the biggest concern for most affluent people who want to avoid taxes on wealth they leave to heirs.
These changes have freed hundreds of thousands of affluent Americans from worrying about federal estate tax. Now many people who won’t owe estate tax can reap substantial tax savings on capital gains by selecting which assets to hold until death. This is especially useful now that the top federal rate on long-term gains is nearly 24%.
People under the umbrella of the federal estate-tax exemption should review the plans they have in place to look for more tax savings.